Home General News US Capitol Panel Faces Questions Over Assistant’s Bomb Statement

US Capitol Panel Faces Questions Over Assistant’s Bomb Statement

by Anthony L. Gonzalez

A congressional investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump raises questions about what steps it took to corroborate a White House aide’s account that the then-president wrestled with Secret Service agents that day. in his armored vehicle.

US media, citing Secret Service sources, said Mr. Trump’s chief of security Robert Engel and the car driver were prepared to challenge the aide’s statement that Mr. Trump was driving the vehicle. The modified Chevrolet Suburban took hold when he learned the Secret Service wouldn’t take him to the Capitol, where thousands of his supporters rioted.

Neither Mr. Engel nor the driver made any public statements on Wednesday (US time).

US Capitol Panel Faces Questions Over Assistant's Bomb Statement

A staff member of the U.S. House of Representatives committee said on January 6 it would welcome testimony from any witness willing to provide new information under oath following Tuesday’s testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson, who was an aide to Mark Meadows, chief of staff for the United States. The Trump White House.

The House aide declined to answer questions Wednesday about whether the commission had already interviewed Secret Service agents or other officials who had firsthand knowledge of the incident Ms. Hutchinson described.

Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said on Wednesday that the commission had not attempted to confirm details of Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony in the 10 days before the hearing, which was scheduled unusually quickly.

In a separate statement, it said it was working with the commission.

Mr. Guglielmi did not immediately respond to questions about the importance of the 10 days or whether the committee had previously contacted the agency to discuss Mr. Trump’s behavior on January 6.

Ms. Hutchinson testified that Tony Ornato, a senior Secret Service official, told her that Mr. Trump had struggled with agents after he delivered a fiery speech to his supporters outside the White House on January 6, in which he repeatedly criticized the widespread fraud. Blamed his election loss on Joe Biden.

Trump’s claims of vote fraud have been dismissed by several judges and rejected by state election officials.

The riots were an attempt to stop Congress, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence, from approving Biden’s election.

“If it is true that the Secret Service is denying the charges against President Trump of attacking officers, then the story is really about gossip that doesn’t pay off,” Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham said Wednesday.

“The committee could have told the other side of the story with a little effort, but they chose NOT to because they wanted sensational headlines.”

Supporters of Republican Mr. Trump have not challenged other revelations in Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony.

These include Mr. Trump’s knowledge — even the approval — of his supporters walking heavily armed through Washington DC on January 6 and that he had no qualms about rioters pushing for Mr. Pence’s hanging.

Ms. Hutchinson also testified that Mr. Trump was known for his White House outbursts that saw food thrown on walls and dishes turned upside down.

“Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony before the January 6 committee has been hailed as ‘brave’ and dismissed as ‘incredible,'” Democratic Senator Dick Durbin said on Twitter on Wednesday.

“It’s time for those in attendance for some of the darkest moments for our democracy to come forward under oath and, like them, tell their story.”

A former deputy to Mr. Meadows, Hutchinson, now 26, was a constant presence among White House staff in the final few months of 2020, often aboard Air Force One, friendly with the team and Mr. Trump’s Secret Service staff.

Her office was a 10-second walk from the President’s Oval Office.

White House staffers were surprised by the undue influence of a then 24-year-old and her drama in the presidential vehicle on the day of the riots.

Sources familiar with the matter said she planned to join the small contingent of staffers who moved to Florida with Trump after he handed over power to Biden in January 2021, but in the end, Trump chose not to employ her. to take.

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